Oil on canvas
73.3 x 47 cm
Donated by the artist, 1970
After leaving Barcelona in 1904, Picasso returned to the city on sporadic visits. In June 1917, Picasso arrived in Barcelona with Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and stayed for four months. The Museu Picasso houses a series of canvases from this Barcelona period – Harlequin, Passeig de Colom, Gored Horse – showing Picasso’s interest in searching out new artistic sources and resources.
He would visit public spots in Barcelona, as he had done years earlier, with this oil painting being evidence of this – Blanquita Suárez was a famous comic singer at the time performing in theatres.
The canons of cubism are present in this work, seen in the intense colours and geometrical structure of the shapes connecting with works from 1915. Picasso achieves a rigorously constructed composition where he combines technical severity with the grace and spontaneity of capturing the moment.
The artist places the figure on stage, structured around acute arid geometric plans, where a well-thought-out tonal game creates a magnificent perspective.
The figure, holding a fan, also appears with superimposed plans, although the artist softens this aspect thanks to the use of more curved modulated lines to some parts of the body, combined with other more angular strokes creating a sensation of movement and dance that become one of the oil painting’s most standout features. Black, brown, green and white dominate the saturated colours with some touches of violet.
In a painting created in Barcelona at that time and housed in the Musée National Picasso in Paris, there are outlines of a dancing ballerina who is probably Blanquita Suárez.
Ainaud de Lasarte, Joan (coord.), Picasso i Barcelona: 1881-1981. Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona / Ministerio de Cultura, 1981, no. 9A-2, p. 245, 254
Baldassari, Anne, Picasso Carmen, sol y sombra. Paris, Flammarion / Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2007, p. 123
McCully, Marylin [et al.], Homage to Barcelona: the city and its art, 1888-1936. London, The Arts Council of Great Britain, 1985, no. 187, fig. 54, p. 55
Museu Picasso (Barcelona), Museu Picasso, catàleg de pintura i dibuix. Barcelona, Ajuntament de Barcelona, 1984, p. 682, 755
Palau i Fabre, Josep, Picasso a Catalunya. 2nd ed. Barcelona, Polígrafa, 1975, no. 255, p. 208
Palau i Fabre, Josep, Picasso dels ballets al drama : 1917-1926. Barcelona, Polígrafa, 1999, núm. 111, p. 57, 491
Richardson, John; McCully, Marilyn (coll.), A life of Picasso: volume III, the triumphant years, 1917-1932. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, s. n., s. p.
Rodríguez Aguilera, Cesáreo, Picassos de Barcelona. Barcelona, Polígrafa, 1974, no. 204, p. 147
Zervos, Christian, Pablo Picasso: vol. 3, œuvres de 1917 à 1919. Paris, Cahiers d'art, 1949, no. 21, p. 8